Germany's news in English

Editions:  Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland

No-deal Brexit: British pensioners in EU to lose NHS healthcare cover

Share this article

No-deal Brexit: British pensioners in EU to lose NHS healthcare cover
Photo: Depositphotos
15:15 CET+01:00
British retirees living in France, Spain, Italy, Germany and elsewhere in the EU will lose their free healthcare if no Brexit deal has been agreed by March 29th, the UK government said on Tuesday.
At the moment British nationals who retire to the EU have their healthcare covered by the NHS but in the event of a no deal this will no longer be the case, the UK government revealed in a technical notice published on Tuesday.
 
The news will no doubt be met with fear and worry among the 190,000 British pensioners who are retired in France, Spain, Italy, Germany and other EU countries.
 
It is believed that the situation could lead to an increased burden on the NHS due to the fact that British retirees may decide it's better to return to the UK for treatment.
 
Currently, pensioners can benefit from the “S1” reciprocal healthcare rules if they retire in the EU, EEA countries or Switzerland.
 
READ ALSO:

Brexit: What are Britons living in France supposed to do now?

The S1 certificate helps pensioners and their dependants access healthcare in France. 
 
"If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until 29 March 2019. After this date, the certificate may not be valid, depending on decisions by member states,” the government said. 
 
Sue Wilson, chair of Bremain in Spain campaign group blasted the change.
 
"All along we've been told our healthcare is protected. This is a big shock to everyone and our members are really scared," she said. 
 
Online support groups for Britons in EU countries have been bombarded with posts in recent weeks from pensioners worried anxious about the future of their health care. Some are undergoing cancer treatment and believe any upheaval caused by Brexit could mean life or death for them.
 
The UK government, which previously said it is cheaper to pay EU countries to look after Britons' medical bills than have them return home, is attempting to secure bilateral deals with EU member states regarding healthcare however none have been agreed so far. 
 
The technical notice advises Britons in living in European countries to sign up for the local healthcare system which, in many cases, will mean paying for treatment. 
 
Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.
Charles - 29 Jan 2019 19:18
This treatment, or even the threat, at the eleventh hour by a government who has promised that this would not happen is despicable and beyond contemptible; especially as a large swathe of British expats have been disenfranchised by the 15-year rule and have not been allowed a say in such an important vote that will effect their future.
Denise.Gilliam-Hill - 01 Feb 2019 13:26
I wish all us anti Brexit Brits living outside the not so UK could descend on London gather outside Parliment and protest against this bloody awful government. When i saw interviews with some British Pensioners living in Spain saying they were voting yes to coming out of the EU I thought to myself dumb is too polite a word then later to see their reactions when told the pound would drop against the euro so they would loose money and they might not get the reciprocal healthcare the enjoy now and would have to pay for their healthcare the expressions on their faces were priceless. Sorry but they are dumme Idioten
Mike - 01 Feb 2019 14:54
There was a report in the Guardian yesterday, quoting the DH&SC (Dept of Health & Social Care) that discussions were advanced with France and Spain over re-introducing reciprocal health cover under bi-lateral agreements, which will be needed if there is no deal. The point was well understood that it is cheaper for them to fund our care here, than in the UK. Basically, we were told not to worry.
Become a Member or sign-in to leave a comment.

From our sponsors

Get a month's worth of your favourite newspapers and magazines - for free

Readly - the 'Spotify of magazines' - is offering readers of The Local a free month's worth of unlimited all-you-can-read magazines. All you need to do is answer one quick question.